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Author Topic: Some Settings for consideration  (Read 1988 times)
RusVal
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« on: January 11, 2009, 12:59:30 AM »

So, I got Spycraft 2.0 for Christmas, friggan finally, and I have to say, this thing is heavy!  I mean, my arms get tired holding-to-read this for extended periods of time heavy, and I’m fine with that, since it’s not like I need my arms for anything like writing or anything.  But I’m straying from the point of this post.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the Campaign Qualities section.  I can’t help but ponder different combinations to different settings, whether original or otherwise.  Because of this, I happen to have a bunch of ideas for settings that I’m probably not going to use.  So what do I do?  That’s where you forumites can be of assistance!  If for the only reason of trying to poke people’s brains to try to get ideas flowing, I thought of posting some of these Quality combos I came up with, as well as some tips on how to run the worlds.

To start things off, a setting I originally created for the Chasm Group, but can easily be used separately.  In fact, I have some background rattling around for this that I might post at a future date for those interested.  But for now, unto the breach!


Parallel 23: Razor’s Edge- Techno-thriller genre.
Razor’s Edge is what could be called a double-edged sword.  Similar to Earth in tech-level, cultures, and history, save for one thing: around WWII, Germany started the ball rolling in the use of technologically-experimental armies.  Specially trained soldiers armed with the best gadgets and weapons a country could provide, starting with the power-armored 1st Panserklien Korp that saw action during the Battle of the Bulge, leading up to the present-day US TECOM, the technological edge afforded to these armies is only tempered by their limited number within the normal rank and file.
A side effect is a boost, currently minor but bound to increase, in technological advancement in both military and civilian application.  While there are a number of cases of designs not living up to expectations, with more than a few either getting shelved or reevaluated for future use (the ray gun armed jet-packers experiment in the 1950s tends to be avoided in any form of conversation in any circle), the general rule is that most of the gadgets enjoyed on Earth (and are expecting to enjoy in a few years) were revealed 5-10 years earlier on Razor, and led to some cultural events happening earlier, such as the internet boom in the mid-1980s.
The Chasm group, upon first discovery, nearly salivated at the prospects.  Some of the most advanced equipment, all of them easily copied and/or reverse engineered, and just close enough to the cutting edge to be revealed or patented almost immediately after recovery.
There is one problem.  The residents of The Edge have notoriously happy trigger fingers.  While the name Razor’s Edge can be easily used to describe the focus on application of technological advancement compared to Earth, it can also be used to describe the general attitude of the relations between the nations and their various organizations.  If there isn’t a war, there is an imminent threat of one.  The ones that do break out tend to be swift and deadly, and ones that do drag out tend to lead to some… dramatic measures for victory, as the radioactive wastelands of Afghanistan and Vietnam can attest to.  Technology is aggressively guarded, with those that don’t have it desperately trying to get it from the ones that do, mostly from the shattered ruins of the former Soviet Union.
Despite the danger, the Chasm group sees a golden opportunity, and trips are constantly planned.
Just make sure to bring a big gun and an extra magazine.

Notes: Inspired by Tom Clancy/Dan Brown techno-thrillers with a focus on cutting-edge equipment, such as Ghost Recon, Act of War: Direct Action (and High Treason), as well as a number of “Secret Weapons of WWII” games in circulation, such as Silent War and Return to Castle Wolfenstein.  Can easily be run as a separate setting, with PCs as soldiers of the various experimental armies, or as the numerous “tech-hunter” spies risking their lives for that extra edge their host nation is looking for.  Either way, the tech-level is high, but the stakes are even higher.

Suggested Qualities:
Big Budget: Whether spies or soldiers, the nations of Razor’s Edge love throwing their full weight behind almost every operation.

Gunmen: When you can have a gun-cam mounted GAET-based drum-fed battle rifle, who in their right mind wants to bother with melee combat?

Market: Tech is king, and the ones with the mostest, the bestest, the soonest, rules the battlefield.  (Feel free to swap with Mercenary for the (even) more combat-oriented missions)

Blockbuster: Things sure do blow up real good round here…

Faction: Because of the expensive nature of most of the equipment used, agents are normally forced to be backed by an overarching organization.  Even “freelancers”, such as mercenaries, find it beneficial to join an organized group, much like Private Military Contractors today.

Violent: Often a mission that doesn’t devolve into a shootout is combed over head to toe by Mission Control to see what went wrong.


That's all for now.  Hope to get another one up soon.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2009, 01:01:56 AM by RusVal » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2009, 03:18:33 AM »

I wouldn't give the Nazi's working power armour if you're making the divergence point WWII -- at best they would have been working on it in the last stages of the war at which point the Soviets would have captured the scientists. Power armour should show up for the first time when the USSR crushes the '56 revolution in Hungary (an action that historically included the use of mechanised cavalry).

For the Nazis to have power armour, your tech divergance is going to have to happen earlier such that you're looking at the wide spread deployment of semi-automatic personal weapons and effective body armour in WWI
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RusVal
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2009, 04:33:38 AM »

I wouldn't give the Nazi's working power armour if you're making the divergence point WWII -- at best they would have been working on it in the last stages of the war at which point the Soviets would have captured the scientists. Power armour should show up for the first time when the USSR crushes the '56 revolution in Hungary (an action that historically included the use of mechanized cavalry).

For the Nazis to have power armor, your tech divergence is going to have to happen earlier such that you're looking at the wide spread deployment of semi-automatic personal weapons and effective body armor in WWI

Ah, but I didn't say the entire war.  The "1st Panserklein Korp" was one squad of four that participated in exactly one battle, near the end when the Allies were making the final push into Germany, around the time of the Battle of the Bulge (not necessarily in it, mind you, just around that time), where, after inflicting heavy casualties were overwhelmed because of numbers, enemy strategy, and maintenance issues.  While it is possible that the Soviets did capture the scientists who worked on the project, the original plans got lost to the void of time.

And it is true, the "tech divergence" did technically happen well before WWII, but it was during that war when the practice of using experimental equipment in limited armed force deployment started becoming commonplace.  Beforehand it was just tiny ahead-of-its-time advancements in very small numbers.  During WWI it was Thompson's squad field-testing his newly designed "trenchgun".  During the US civil war, a few gatling guns found their way onto the front lines.

Like I said, I do have some background notes that I would like to post, but it's getting late, I can't remember where they are all buried, and I don't have all the details hammered out yet.  The main gist of the setting is "countries make use of specialized regiments (battalions, squads, whatever depending on the size) that use the latest, greatest, and just in general cutting-edge tech.”
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 10:03:34 PM »

Update!  I, er, seem to have misplaced my notes.   Cry  So!  Instead of continuing discussion of the above setting, lets take a gander at one of my more favorite d20 Modern settings, shall we?  I swear I didn’t just randomly pick something from one of my books out of desperation!  Ah heh heh.  Grin


I so didn't choose this setting 'cause of this picture.
Earth Inherited
A more thorough description can be found here.

Notes: A unique take on the classic Rapture mythos, Earth Inherited is an interesting combination of the Apocalyptic and Near Future genres presented in the 2.0 core rulebook.  Angels, demons, and other mythological creatures roam the war torn countryside, ruins in reasonably good condition house high-tech gadgetry such as cybernetics and mecha, and humanity is currently in a state of moral flux, a sort of backlash caused by the removal of all the purely “good” and “evil” people.  Now, instead, humans should be classified as either “Lawful”, “Chaotic”, or “Robotic” (one of the human factions is a group dedicated to cybernetics).  It’s an abandoned world, and the PCs are stuck picking up the pieces.

In other words, a rather fun sounding setting for an RPG!

Now, there are a few things that cause problems when translating to the Spycraft (Mastercraft, whatever) system.  Because cybernetics isn’t fully fleshed out yet, and mecha aren’t even close to being represented, that’s a pair of elements that can’t be used as fully as someone just using d20 Modern.  However, the high-tech elements can still be represented with the fancy gadgets that Spycraft thrives on.  While fighting in a robotech rip-off is still a ways off, who doesn’t want to blast their way through the legions of hell with a tricked-out, pimped-up cross between Mad Max’s and James Bond’s cars?

Suggested Qualities:

Bleak: In a world literally abandoned by heaven, heroes will need to rely on their own skills to pull them through.

Big Budget: As per the Near Future genre, including the suggested gadget pick mod suggested in the book.  Even though civilization is in shambles, the remnants of it were left largely untouched, and the knowledge behind it is still relatively common.

Modular: Also as per the Near Future genre, people find it very easy to customize themselves.

Optional Qualities:

Faction, Hybrid, or Freelance: This is where things get tricky.  Like most Apocalyptic worlds, governments are pretty much null.  That hasn’t stopped a number of human factions from forming, each one with a sizeable stockpile of equipment and support structure.  People working for their own ends are still common, however, and it can easily be surmised that groups can be formed by a combination of factional “experts” assigned to assist a group of freelancers (or vice versa).

Small Screen: If the GC wants to magnify the effect of celestial abandonment, he can make the very heroism most agents in Spycraft enjoy disappear.  However, to avoid making things too difficult for PCs by combining this with Bleak, GCs are encouraged to add…

Fast Feats, Fast Attributes, or Feat Purchase: To symbolize people having to learn survival skills quickly.  I’d go with Feat Purchase.

Common Spectacle: Hey, the PCs are fighting mythological creatures on a daily basis.

More soon.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 10:05:41 PM by RusVal » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2009, 09:45:26 AM »

...mecha aren’t even close to being represented...

This belief is beginning to annoy me. They're just vehicles. The drive focus (if any) and skill involved depends on some design and world details, but they're still vehicles.

I suppose I'll need to go pull GoO's and DP9's mecha book out and write something up.
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2009, 12:19:51 PM »

...mecha aren’t even close to being represented...

This belief is beginning to annoy me. They're just vehicles. The drive focus (if any) and skill involved depends on some design and world details, but they're still vehicles.

I suppose I'll need to go pull GoO's and DP9's mecha book out and write something up.

If you're willing to expand this project into it's own thread, I'd love to pick your brain on how you convert stats.

As a second project, how about converting Wheelman to a feat tree? (I can't remember if it was Alex or Pat who suggested this.) This conversion would definitely open up some class possibilities for a GearCraft game.
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2009, 12:35:33 PM »

Now, there are a few things that cause problems when translating to the Spycraft (Mastercraft, whatever) system.  Because cybernetics isn’t fully fleshed out yet, and mecha aren’t even close to being represented, that’s a pair of elements that can’t be used as fully as someone just using d20 Modern.  However, the high-tech elements can still be represented with the fancy gadgets that Spycraft thrives on.  While fighting in a robotech rip-off is still a ways off, who doesn’t want to blast their way through the legions of hell with a tricked-out, pimped-up cross between Mad Max’s and James Bond’s cars?

You may find this and this useful for the cyber side of things. Unfortunately that exhausts my asspulls for this scene so I have nothing to contribute for the mech side of things. Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2009, 01:38:15 PM »

... and mecha aren’t even close to being represented, ...

Broadly speaking, the term "mecha" just means "machine," and those are in abundance.  I presume you specifically mean "humanoid robots"?  Those are plenty easy, another drive focus.  (Powered armor doesn't need a feat to operate, you just wear it.  It should have a feat to maximize its potential, something like the existing armor feats.)

As for statting out the fighting 'bots:  Just take a peak at the vehicles and decide how well armored and maneuverable the 'bots should be in comparison.  (I assume you're pretty easy on the physics of said 'bots?  Their utility drops off as they climb past 18-20 feet tall.  Dream Pod 9 has the best take, that I know of, on "realistic" humanoid combat vehicles in their "Heavy Gear" series.)
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2009, 02:21:28 PM »

Broadly speaking, the term "mecha" just means "machine,"...

[pedant]
In English, Mecha refers to giant robots and assorted, related, sci-fi wackiness. It does not typically refer to powered armor outside of fandom.

In Japanese, 'meka' (メカ) is an abbreviation of the Japanese spelling of 'mechanical' and refers generally to anything mechanical (or robotic, or electronic, or some other field). Toasters, cellphones, or mp3 players (fictional in design or not) are all meka. This is why even a show about the love lives of some high school girls with no fantastical elements at all often has a mechanical designer in the credits.
[/pedant]
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2009, 05:03:40 PM »

If you're willing to expand this project into it's own thread, I'd love to pick your brain on how you convert stats.

I'm not even sure how much there is. I need to think it out and tinker a bit. The largest part would be a vehicle quality (similar to Tracked) and some discussion of design theory and what not. Sometime this weekend.

As a second project, how about converting Wheelman to a feat tree? (I can't remember if it was Alex or Pat who suggested this.) This conversion would definitely open up some class possibilities for a GearCraft game.

Not my itch.
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RusVal
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2009, 05:55:15 PM »

Okay, not quite the reaction I was aiming for, but informative none the less. (note to self, point out rules problems to get more immediate reaction)

Broadly speaking, the term "mecha" just means "machine,"...

[pedant]
In English, Mecha refers to giant robots and assorted, related, sci-fi wackiness. It does not typically refer to powered armor outside of fandom.

In Japanese, 'meka' (メカ) is an abbreviation of the Japanese spelling of 'mechanical' and refers generally to anything mechanical (or robotic, or electronic, or some other field). Toasters, cellphones, or mp3 players (fictional in design or not) are all meka. This is why even a show about the love lives of some high school girls with no fantastical elements at all often has a mechanical designer in the credits.
[/pedant]

Yes, there is a lot of argument on the "proper" definition of Mecha.  To this, I suggest a comprimise.

Mecha - Giant robots, huminoid or otherwise, piloted or otherwise.

Mech - Assorted mechanical sci-fi wackiness.  Can or can not include power armor.

Mechanic- General mechanical things.


You may find this and this useful for the cyber side of things. Unfortunately that exhausts my asspulls for this scene so I have nothing to contribute for the mech side of things. Cheesy

Oh, I know that their are a number of ways to adhoc cybernetics (which is why I said it wasn't fully fleshed out).  There is a difference between adhoc and official adhoc however.  Wink
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2009, 05:27:14 AM »

I think you can use the Gadget rules to create cybernetics. In which case, your character would be counted as the Housing. I think this is even suggested in Spycraft 2.0 in the Gadgets' description.

The Cybernetics would, in this case, just be Gadgets and have the very same rules. If you want this to be Cybernetics-heavy game, just allow more to be installed into a character. You could double/triple the Housing of a character or do as is suggested in the Cybercraft thread and include Constitution and Wisdom modifiers.

Gadgets pretty much covers everything you'd need for Cybernetics (unless, of course, I somehow don't see the difference that is between those two).

As for the Mecha, I agree that vehicle rules should be used to represent them. Powered Armor, I'd say, would also make use of the Gadgets rules, combining Gadgets with Armor. If you want to be really fancy, you can start by creating a base Power Armor that has specific stats. You can create a special Armor Quality that allows extra Gadgets to be added to it. Or, if you prefer, let Gadgets count as upgrades for Armor and give your basic Power Armor an increased number of beginning upgrades. In the latter case, the Gadget's Caliber would determine how much an upgrade it would count as.

Just some thoughts.
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2009, 07:05:19 AM »

(click to show/hide)

From another thread & old boards. Morg's work.
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2009, 10:31:11 AM »

Long story short:  BattleMechs have floated around the board more than once.  Do you want help statting up BattleMechs, or explanations for why they don't really work?
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2009, 02:58:44 PM »

I posted a larval-stage mecha creation system on this board not long ago.

http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=2032.0

Still plenty to work on, but the skeleton is there.
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